Welcome to the seventeenth edition of The Cuttle Corner! This week I’ve been doing a little spindle spinning and knitting.
If you missed last week’s post, you can take a look here.
Now, let’s get cozy!
What’s Going On
We had our January Crafternoon this weekend! We had some new faces this time, which is always fun. I think fewer people overall were actually doing some sort of craft, but it was still a fun time to catch up, and of course eat lots of delicious food. My culinary contribution was a potato soup that turned out fantastically, if I do say so myself.
What I’m Working On
As I sat down to write about everything I’ve been working on this week, I felt for a moment that I hadn’t gotten very much done. Then I remembered that last week’s Cuttle Corner covered several weeks of crafting, while this week is only one. For one week, I got quite a bit done!
I finished the back portion of my Kildalton Cardigan. Next is knitting up the left front section, which should go quickly.
Whenever I had a moment where I wanted to keep my hands busy, but didn’t want to have to pay close attention to my project, I reached for the pair of vanilla socks I cast on last week. I’ve finished turning the heel, and I’m on to the foot of the first sock. It shouldn’t be too hard to finish the foot by next week.
I don’t always spin a lot during the winter, but this last week I got inspired to try out my new spindles and make some progress on an older spinning project.
The first of my new spindles I tried out was my Scottish Dealgan spindle that I was very excited to try. I pulled out some gray 50/50 tencel and merino fiber that I’ve had in my stash to try it out.
Before this, I’ve only spun with top whorl drop spindles. This style of spindle has the weight at the bottom, built into the shape. It is a heavier spindle than some of my others. It spins fast, but not for very long.
I was able to start spinning yarn on it within a couple of minutes. The main trouble I had was estimating the right amount of leader to leave when I wound it onto the spindle, to still loop around the bottom and tie a hitch at the top.
After playing around with the spindle for a while, I spent a bit of time seeing how other spinners spin with their Dealgans. Most people I saw were spinning the same way that I was.
Then I came across this video from Jillian Eve where she was spinning with a Dealgan a bit different from the other spinners I had seen. She used a distaff to hold the fiber and kept the spindle close to her hand to keep a more continuous spin method. She based this technique on a historical image.
Always excited to try something new, I immediately gave this a try. I don’t have a distaff, so I grabbed a large wooden spoon and wrapped some fiber around that. In the end, this technique didn’t work great for me. I found it very difficult to draft my fiber, and the spindle kept dropping.
There are some factors that probably hindered my spinning. For one, I’m not used to drafting off of a distaff. If I practiced distaff spinning with a set-up I was more familiar with, I might have had more success. Not to mention, the spoon I was using as a distaff was a bit shorter than probably would have been best. Another problem was the fiber itself. The tencel/merino blend is very smooth a slippery. Not the best fiber for learning a new spinning technique.
I think if I tried this experiment again with more distaff practice, a longer distaff, and more forgiving fiber I would have much better results.
After the frustration I found from distaff spinning with my Dealgan, I took a break from that and gave my Turkish Spindle a try.
This spindle was so much fun to spin on. It was easy to get it going, and it will keep spinning for a long time on its own. I was a little worried that the spindle would be a little heavier than I would be comfortable with, but it was very easy to spin on.
I used the same tencel/merino fiber that I used on the Dealgan. The smoothness of the fiber did make spinning a bit tricky, but I didn’t have as many issues this time. The biggest issue I found when spinning with this Turkish spindle was to remember to leave enough room around the spindle while it was spinning. The arms stick out farther than I am used to, and if I wasn’t careful, the spindle would bump into things while it was spinning.
Doing all of this spindle spinning made me miss my spinning wheels. I spent some time with my Schacht Ladybug and plied up the rest of my white mystery fiber singles. These were all spun from a center pull ball.
Plying these singles went very fast. I am planning on dyeing this yarn soon!
Until next time, keep cuttle-ing!
What are you working on? I’d love to hear about your projects in the comments below!